Nelson and Grant Qualify for NCAA West Preliminary Round
SPRINGFIELD - Senior Staci Nelson and freshman Kimsue Grant have qualified for the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas, May 27-29. Nelson will run in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, while Grant will compete in the triple jump.
The duo earned their spots with personal best performances during the Bears' outdoor season. Nelson's (Chatham, Ill.) 10:35.43 time at the Drake Relays, April 22, earned her the invite. Nelson is the 11th MSU steeplechaser to qualify since the NCAA instituted regional meets in 2003. The Bears have had at least one steeplechase regional qualifier each of the past eight years.
Grant paved her way to Texas by jumping 40-09.50 at the April 24 Redbird Spring Invitational in Normal, Ill. The Arlington, Va., native is only the sixth Bear freshman to qualify, joining Jeláni Kelly (2009), Terry Phillips (2008), Leander Ernest (2007), Ciara Jones (2005) and Tracy Partain (2003) in that distinction. Grant is also the first triple jumper to qualify since Donavette Martin in 2005.
Each will compete in a field of 48 qualifiers, with the top 12 advancing to the NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 9-12. The steeplechase will run three heats of 16, with the top three finishers in each heat automatically advancing. The remaining spots will be given to the top three times that did not place.
The triple jump will have two rounds. The initial group of 48 will be pared down to 16 after each individual performs three jumps. Another round of three jumps will narrow those 16 to the 12 competitors heading to Oregon.
Geographically, the West Region comprises Wisconsin, Illinois, and every state west of the Mississippi River excluding Louisiana.
Nelson is scheduled to run on day two, Friday, May 28. Grant will compete Saturday afternoon, May 29.